The Baltimore County School Board Thursday night threw in the towel and gave up trying to elect a new chairman.
Despite that, the current chairwoman Kathleen Causey will continue on in the post for now.
Causey remains chair although she received fewer votes for the position than board member Cheryl Pasteur. Causey got five votes, Pasteur six. But the magic number is seven.
Board counsel Andrew Nussbaum explained that in this circumstance, under Maryland common law, the incumbent chair, Causey, can remain in office even though her one year term has expired.
Pasteur said she is frustrated being denied the chairmanship even though she received more votes. But she said it's time for the board to focus on the schools and the students.
“Our children don’t have any more time for us to play around,” Pasteur said. “No more time. No more.”
Causey declined to comment, saying she would release a statement later.
Julie Henn will remain as vice chair, although she too received only five votes. Board member Rodney McMillion got six votes but did not win because he needed seven.
Board member Lily Rowe, who supported Causey and Henn, said the board will continue to function as it did before.
“We have a board chair and a board vice chair and we’ll do the work of the board,” Rowe said. “We will move forward."
This vote was complicated by the death in October of board member Roger Hayden. Pasteur said they were friends and Hayden had promised her he would support her as chair. That would have been her winning, seventh vote.
"Everything is for a reason," Pasteur said.
Governor Hogan will name Hayden’s replacement. That’s not expected to happen until March or later. Aaron Plymouth, the chairman of the Baltimore County School Board Nominating Commission, said they will advertise the open position in January, then following interviews and public hearings in February will forward two names to the governor for consideration.
Once the new member is seated, the school board could conceivably take another vote for chairman. Otherwise, the board will vote for chairman again next December, as required by state law.
The school board started the night in closed session holed up in a locked building away from where it usually meets, and where members of the public were waiting.
Once it reappeared, the board took the vote and put on public display that it is fractured. And that chairwoman Causey does not have the support of the majority of the board.